73 p.c. polling in Krishna district

Turnout of women and young voters conspicuously high despite heat wave conditions

VIJAYAWADA: Krishna district registered a poll percentage of about 73 per cent by 5 p.m. on Thursday, even as some polling stations had voters waiting for their turn beyond the closing hour. The poll percentage was high in Machilipatnam Parliamentary constituency (74.43) as compared to the same in Vijayawada Parliamentary constituency (69.71). Two Assembly segments falling under Eluru Parliamentary constituency had an average turnout of 75.5 per cent.

Vehicle damaged

Polling was peaceful in general, though Jaggayyapeta Assembly constituency, which registered the highest turnout in the district (85 per cent), saw some instances of clashes between the followers of the Congress and the Telugu Desam. A vehicle belonging to father of Congress candidate and Government Whip Samineni Udayabhanu was allegedly damaged by TDP activists in Gowravaram village in the constituency, while clashes broke out at Vedadri towards the end of the polling. The incidents took place despite close watch maintained by the election authorities and the police.

Clashes were reported from Nuzvid constituency between the followers of Congress and Praja Rajyam, prompting Muttamsetti Vijaya Nirmala, candidate of the latter, to stage a dharna. Loyalists of Congress candidate Mallika Begum and the party rebel Jaleel Khan clashed in One Town in Vijayawada West constituency. Two persons received minor injuries.

Across the district, the turnout of women and young voters was conspicuously high. Fearing the heat wave conditions prevailing for the last few days, a large number of voters queued up at the booths from the opening hour of 7 a.m. itself, which resulted in formation of long queues that moved slowly.

A large number of polling stations in the district had no shelter for the voters to stand in the queues, nor was any provision for drinking water made.

Technical glitches

Non-functioning of EVMs was reported from several places, which resulted in continuation of polling beyond 5 p.m. Leaders of the Congress, the TDP and the Praja Rajyam maintained public posturing about their victory in the polls, even as the high poll percentage made them wonder which way the wind had blown.

In Vijayawada Parliamentary constituency, some last-minute agreements cutting across political lines had reportedly led to cross-voting.

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